3 Things We Learned About Marketing from D-Nice’s Club Quarantine

By now, even if you’re not a fan of rap, hip hop, soul or R&B, you’ve heard about “Club Quarantine” DJ D-Nice’s super viral online party that happened on Instagram Live. This virtual club atmosphere has had over 160,000 folks in attendance at one time, including VIP A listers like Michelle Obama, Oprah, Joe Biden, J-Lo and a host of others.

What started as a DJ missing spinning records for live audiences and deciding to play a few records for friends online turned into a global, viral phenomenon. Even yours truly participated. @Jazzypen was in the virtual building and actually dancing around my living room, enjoying some of my all-time favorite tunes.

What’s powerful is this epic online party has skyrocketed the DJ’s brand awareness. Make no mistake, Derrick “D-Nice” Jones already had a strong brand. The member of the ‘80s rap group Boogie Down Productions has deejayed for several celebrities, including the Obamas. He’s also been behind the music at major events and was slated for Coachella.

With Club Quarantine many more people now know about DJ D-Nice. I can only imagine the number of companies reaching out to him for co-branding and endorsement deals. (Spotify already has a Club Quarantine playlist!)

For now, Club Quarantine has resulted in a collaboration with Michelle Obama and her organization When We All Vote. On March 25 Club Quarantine transitioned to #CouchParty, an online voter drive. During D-Nice’s set, volunteers from When We All Vote texted eligible voters to help them register to vote.

Here are 3 things we can learn regarding marketing and branding from DJ D-Nice and the Club Quarantine experience.

  1. The Power of the Pivot…Make Changes to Your Approach

During this time of social distancing and stay at home orders from the government, it’s time for small businesses to get creative and pivot. For DJ D-Nice whose business relies heavily on being in person at large venues, his pivot was taking his song playing skills online.

Your pivot may mean creating a new online product, using social media like never before, building brand awareness, incorporating a new business model or introducing a new stream of income. This could mean the workshop event you used to do in person is now a webinar online (the case for Jazzy Pen).


  1. Empathy Marketing is Real… Now Is the Time to Use It

Empathy marketing is truly understanding your audience and what they are feeling. It is being in tune to their emotions and marketing accordingly. Empathy marketing doesn’t look like marketing at all. Instead, it looks like helping. During a time like this, what is your target market feeling? Think of your target as a human, not a customer.

For D-Nice, he started with his own need and then thought of others. He realized that people were quarantined and feeling isolated. According to Oprah Magazine he said, “I’ve been in the music industry for over 30 years…but nothing felt like that, helping people. It was selfless and self-serving as well, because I was isolated too, and I just wanted people to feel good.”

So, from an empathy marketing perspective, how can you help? It may be sharing important information, little known resources, or offering a special giveaway. A Jazzy Pen client offered to go grocery shopping for her 65 and older customers.


  1. Build Your Brand So Your Organic Reach Soars

One of the mind-blowing facets of Club Quarantine is how fast it grew organically. There were no ads on Facebook or Instagram that I know of. Word of mouth marketing was at work in a major way. It was non-celebs who were getting the word out. Why? Yes, there was an awesome online party going on, but it started with D-Nice’s brand.

Over the years, D-Nice created an amazing brand. He went from rapper to photographer, to celebrity DJ and music curator. Granted, many of his fans and followers are VIPs, but since Club Quarantine he’s added hundreds of thousands of new followers and it started by him having a strong brand and a “tribe.” Now is an excellent time for you to work on building YOUR brand!

As always, Jazzy Pen is here to help!